Friday, December 21, 2007

I want a Tiger Cub for Christmas

I have just finished reading Freakonomics. An stimulating and thoughful read by an Economy professor from University of Chicago. There is a part of this book that is fairly controversial that I want to share and then share my thoughts on it.
Freakonomics page 4
In 1995 the criminologist James Fox wrote a report for the U.S. attorney general that grimley detailed the coming spike in murders by teenagers. Fox proposed optimistic and pessimistic scenerios.In the optimistic scenerio, the rate of teen homocides would rise another 15% over the next decade. In the pessimistic scenerio it would double.
Other criminologists,political scientists, and similarly learned forcasters laid out the same horrible future as did president Clinton.
And then instead of going up and up and up, crime began to fall, fall, and fall some more. The crime rate drop was startling in several respects. It was ubiquitous, with every category of crime falling in every part of the country.
The magnitude of the reversal was astounding. The teenage murder rate instead of rising 100% or even 15% as James Fox had warned, fell more than 50% within 5 years. By 2000 the overall murder rate in the U.S. dropped to it's lowest level in 35 years.
Pg 6 Freakonomics
It wasn't gun control, a strong economy or new police strategies that finally blunted the crime wave. It was among other factors, the reality that the pool of potential criminals had drasctically shrunk.
How you may you ask?
The decision of Roe V Wade or the legalization of Abortion.
As far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children are born equal, not even close. Decades of studies have shown that a child born into an adverse family enviorment is far more likely than other children to become a criminal. And the millions of women most likely to have an abortion in the wake of Roe V. Wade- poor unmarried and teenage mothers for whom illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get were often model's of adversity.
They were the very women whose children if born, would have been much more likely than average to become criminals. But because of Roe V Wade these children were not being born. This powerful cause would have a drastic distant effect years later, just as these unborn children would have entered their criminal primes, the rate of crime began to plummet.
The author later compares the millions of aborted babies to the crime that is prevented and those of us who are pro-life would find the scales do not equal out.
No, reading this did not change my mind about being pro-life, but what it did make me think about is all of us who are pro life who do very little after the baby is born.
It is like the proverbial little girl who wants a tiger cub from her parents for Christmas. It is a great present until the cub grows into a full grown Tiger and they have no idea of how to control it.
There are many questions that have went through my head after reading this. Is the church prepared to help 1.7 million at risk children? The majority of the children do not come from ideal home situations.
If we were to talk a young teenage mom out of abortion and she decided to keep the baby. Would we critize her parenting techniques? Would we critize her if she became a stripper or on welfare to support the baby? And what if the baby because of the circumstances did turn out to be a criminal would we visit them in jail?
Our job is no where near done when a person decides against abortions. The fight has just started and where are we when the battle rages?

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